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Meet Geeohsnap, the artist using Snapchat as his canvas
YouTube’s top stars earn millions of dollars in ad sales every year, while Viners, Tweeters and Instagrammers have gone from being internet-famous to, well, just plain famous. So what of Snapchat? The ghostly messaging service which performs a disappearing act on your pictures now has 100 million monthly users, and there’s a whole host of people cleverer than us using the app as a springboard to success.
So, while we were messing around trying to monetise Yo, Snapchat user Geir Ove Pedersen (better known by his username Geeohsnap) started building a following. The young Norwegian’s snaps feature random, unsuspecting people in ordinary scenarios – at airports, streets, parks and shops – and re-contextualises them in a world of his own making. Featuring detailed cartoon-style drawings, recurring characters and plenty of creativity, Geeohsnap is a lot of fun to follow, and it’s also landed him work with Walt Disney and Air France. We caught up with the artist to find out more.
How did you first get the idea for your Snaps of random people?
Every time I sit, wait or travel, I always try to stay productive with my creativity. Im a graphic designer and an illustrator and I’m always trying to come up with new ideas. This project started when I was checking out Snapchat while waiting in an airport for a delayed plane. I saw a person sitting a few seats away from me reading his newspaper, and i thought the people waiting probably wanted to do other things then just sit and wait. Then the idea hit me: what if I could change that in a Snap picture? And then the Random People Project was born.
Was there any particular catalyst for the project going viral? Or did it grow naturally?
The main catalyst was an article that featured my works which literally exploded over night! The article went viral and spread all over the world on different mediums and social sites. I started to get a lot of snaps from random people telling me: “Now you are famous in France!” “Now in China!” “Hugs from Spain”. It was really fun to see how it spread all over the world, and after a while I was featured in an article in Rolling Stone Magazine Brazil. The awesome actor from Star Trek George Takei posted my works on his facebook to millions of followers. Buisness Insider also said recently that I was one of 13 Snapchat stars everyone should be watching.
Is there any way to gauge which posts are most popular?
One post, The Catipus I posted on Instagram made high numbers in likes. But I see all the time people sharing different posts or articles of my work on social media and different websites. I think everyone has their own favorites.
Do you have a favorite post?
They all have a special meaning to me, but if I had to pick it would be one with my animal characters in or with my monster Mr.Grumpy. I really love the way they act in my Snaps.
Some of your posts are very detailed, how long does each doodle take?
A bus ride! (10-20 minutes). I have actually never timed myself, but the most detailed ones are around 30 minutes.
What do you like about Snapchat as a tool? Is there anything you’d change or any features you’d like to add?
I really love the simplicity of the drawing tools. It gets more challenging in that way to make detailed artworks. If I could change something, I would really love a new way to arrange the buttons when you are drawing. Maybe completely hide them in drawing mode in some way. When you draw it’s hard to draw in the bottom of the picture (Or in the top), because most often you suddenly hit send or upload to story.
What do you like about the Snapchat Discover feature? Do you like where the app is heading?
I love the way Snapchat is going! With lots of new and interesting features. I also really like that they have put National Geographic in the Discover feature, so the other day i saw a great documentary about salmon fish. I love nature and often spend time outdoors.
Has anybody caught you taking a snap yet?
Haha, actually yes! One time a man saw me taking a Snap of him. I managed to get out with a smile, but I can say I didn’t get a smile in return. Things felt a little uncomfortable, but I had a good laugh at the situation later on the bus.
You’ve already worked with Air France this year, do you have any other brand work in the pipeline?
Yes! I have a lot of exciting things coming in 2015 – including work with Walt Disney. Lots of people have contacted me and the interest is really good, but I can’t tell you all about them yet due to contracts. All I can say is that they will be just as awesome as the snaps I am currently doing – it’s important for me to keep the creativity and humor in my Snapchat art.
What’s the long-term vision for the project? a book? video series?
I have launched a website and more exciting things are coming soon. A lot of friends and followers on Snapchat tell me that I have to make prints and illustrations, so that is one of my plans this spring. It’s also no secret that I’m working on a book about my creative work, so keep your eyes peeled for that!
Finally, who are some of your own internet heroes?
I really love people who are doing something different or make people smile. One of my favorite people is the humourist and satirist David Thorne with his awesome books, and I have also always loved the stories from Clients From Hell because of my background as a graphic designer.
As for Snapchat, I’d have to mention Shounduras and Mark Kaye. Shonduras was one of the first Snapchat artists I followed. He is really good at interacting with his followers and making really awesome and funny snaps. Mark Kaye is a really good guy and has one of the only talkshows on Snapchat, so you should definitely check out his funny Talkin Snap show!